Department of Energy Responds (More Or Less) To Shaheen And Ayotte Concern Over Northern Pass

Apr 30, 2013

Last month Northern Pass opponents complained that U.S. Department of Energy contractors working on the Northern Pass project were trespassing on their land to carry out environmental studies.

That prompted Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte to ask DOE about it.

Now DOE has responded but things are still unclear.

The basic question Senators Shaheen and Ayotte asked involved about 140 miles of PSNH rights-of-way. The utility wants to use that for Northern Pass towers carrying hydro-electric power from Canada.

The senators asked DOE if researchers doing an environmental assessment for Northern Pass could legally go on the rights-of-way held by PSNH, a different corporation.

Or, the senators asked, does that go “beyond the scope of the easements held by PSNH.”

PSNH’s position is that such work is legal.

Now DOE has responded without addressing the question. Instead, DOE simply noted that PSNH has given its permission.

Some opponents of Northern Pass are disappointed.

“For me it doesn’t answer the issues it simply states what the issue is. And that is whether or not PSNH can give Northern Pass permission to enter on private land,” says Bob Baker is a lawyer from Columbia and an opponent of Northern Pass

A spokeswoman for Shaheen said the senator would “continue to press for information.”